‘Gaming is one of the stickiest mediums available today for users’

“Gaming is one of the stickiest mediums available today for users. Websites have to build social interaction among its users, which helps them to make friends and thus forces them to come back and consume its content. Loyalty can’t be forced, but an environment has to be built for users where they feel attached to the system,” says Arun Mehra, Chief Marketing Officer, Zapak Digital Entertainment Ltd.

exchange4media Staff 23-April-2009

‘Gaming is one of the stickiest mediums available today for users’

“Gaming is one of the stickiest mediums available today for users. Websites have to build social interaction among its users, which helps them to make friends and thus forces them to come back and consume its content. Loyalty can’t be forced, but an environment has to be built for users where they feel attached to the system,” says Arun Mehra, Chief Marketing Officer, Zapak Digital Entertainment Ltd.

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<b>P Krishnakumar</b>, Executive Director – Marketing, Dell India

Using the power of the internet to deliver products and services and connecting with customers in the most direct way possible is a key part of Dell’s heritage. Using social or digital media at Dell is rooted in listening and crafting an engagement with customers first and foremost. Social brings new dynamics to continue to grow the intersection between business value and customer value, to create a connect between Dell and its valued customers.

exchange4media Staff 23-May-2012

<b>P Krishnakumar</b>, Executive Director – Marketing, Dell India
Using the power of the internet to deliver products and services and connecting with customers in the most direct way possible is a key part of Dell’s heritage. Using social or digital media at Dell is rooted in listening and crafting an engagement with customers first and foremost. Social brings new dynamics to continue to grow the intersection between business value and customer value, to create a connect between Dell and its valued customers.

P Krishnakumar, also known as KK, is Executive Director, Marketing for Dell India. His previous roles during his five years at Dell include Executive Director, Marketing for the Consumer, Small and Medium business segments and APJ, SMB Product and Solutions Director for Commercial Business. Krishnakumar has over 18 years of experience in the IT and consumer industry and has served in various sales and marketing positions, beginning his career with Wipro in its consumer division and spending four years with Pepsico in its sales organisation. Prior to Dell, Krishnakumar was Country Manager, Consumer Desktops in the personal solutions group of HP India.

“Our products are our heroes,” says Krishnakumar in conversation with Priyanka Mehra as he talks about Dell’s focus on empowering consumers with the ‘power to do more’ and treating them as the best brand ambassadors

Q. Though Dell was a brand well known in the overseas market, it had to establish itself in India. Today, it has become a trusted brand. Please share with us some key marketing insights of the brand-building journey. Globally, Dell has undertaken a significant transformation – to become an end-to-end IT solutions player by leveraging its leadership position in the hardware business. One of the most important things for Dell is customer-centricity – listening to what customers are saying. Dell has a deep, unique customer insight, which is the result of over two billion customer interactions each year. It has an unwavering focus on providing customers the tools and capabilities they need to succeed, the ‘The power to do more’.

We have followed the same customer-centric focus in India delivering enhanced consumer experience, designing SMB-catered products and services for the large enterprise.

Q. What are the challenges faced by the brand? Over the last few years, Dell has been focused on three strategic areas of change in an effort to ensure that the brand remains relevant to customers, employees and stakeholders long into the future:

Ensuring that the world sees one, consistent Dell brand Putting customers and their ‘outcome’ from technology at the core of the Dell promise Leveraging Dell’s unique differences Today, Dell is at an inflection point that is being driven by a convergence of macro-economic, business and technology trends that we call the Virtual Era. In the Virtual Era, consumerisation is fundamentally altering how people use technology at work and at home and how social/ digital marketing is blurring and redefining lines of personal, social and work behaviour. Virtualisation and cloud computing are redefining the economics of enterprise computing and the demand for secure anytime/anywhere access to data is changing how we treat our information. Dell’s core strategy is to help its customers capitalise on the Virtual Era by offering end-to-end solutions that provide them with the power to do more.

Q. Dell is a brand well known for service as its USP, with competitors such as Lenovo and Sony Vaio aggressive in the marketing space and using Bollywood stars as brand ambassadors. What are your marketing plans? We at Dell believe that our products are our heroes. It is with this insight that we launched one of our most powerful brand campaigns ever – Take your own path. We made our customers our ambassadors to showcase the way they used technology to scale their business. We believe that the emotional connect with our customers is established by staying true to our solutions promise.

Q. What is the one tip you have for upcoming marketing managers? It is imperative that you listen to your customers. There is no better way to get customer insights than talking and listening. This will help a marketer understand customer pain points and help better position the company’s products and solutions.

Q. How are you using digital media to build your brand and connect with the youth? Using the power of the internet to deliver products and services and connecting with customers in the most direct way possible is a key part of Dell’s heritage. Using social or digital media at Dell is rooted in listening and crafting an engagement with customers first and foremost. Social brings new dynamics to continue to grow the intersection between business value and customer value, to create a connect between Dell and its valued customers. It is a tool that has been leveraged across the fabric of the company employing different functions, uses and values; from impacting the course of product development to sales and marketing communications, all in order to understand the customer and be able to deliver customer service and value to them.

Dell has been actively engaged in embracing social media since 2006. We do this by leveraging platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, our Direct2Dell blog, our product ratings and reviews written by customers and embedded within the purchase experience across www.dell.com, and our Social Media Listening Programme where we directly correspond with individuals who may be reaching out for help or offering advice. There is a human element that social media brings to conversations, which makes the relationship between customer and the company stronger. It is a culture, based right from the beginning on an unwavering drive to provide practical solutions that solve real problems, a promise fulfilled by listening and applying our team’s knowledge, creativity and winning spirit to develop innovative solutions that help customers succeed. We rely on millions of daily interactions with customers around the world to develop deep, insightful relationships that lead to innovative technology, rewarding customer experiences and superior long-term value.

Q. How does Dell as a brand position itself? Our purpose is to enable people to grow and thrive using technology. At Dell, we believe that we’re in the business of productivity and hence we build technology that will equip people with the ‘Power to do more’. The last few years have seen Dell undergo a serious transformation, from a pure hardware company to a technology solutions provider. From a customer point of view, we’re now able to provide end-to-end technology solutions and that is how we’re positioning ourselves.
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<b>Pratik Mazumder</b>, Head of Marketing & Strategic Alliance, Yatra

With broadband penetration crossing a hundred million, there are early adopters of the online travel category. With our new campaign we are trying to get a larger mindshare and want to become a dominant online travel agency brand in the consumer space.

exchange4media Staff 14-May-2012

<b>Pratik Mazumder</b>, Head of Marketing & Strategic Alliance, Yatra
With broadband penetration crossing a hundred million, there are early adopters of the online travel category. With our new campaign we are trying to get a larger mindshare and want to become a dominant online travel agency brand in the consumer space.

Pratik Mazumder, Head of Marketing and Strategic Alliance, Yatra has more than 18 years of experience in marketing with special emphasis on brand and product management, marketing communications including advertising, celebrity management, events, sales, direct messaging, content resource management, public relations, outdoor, research, retail merchandising, trade engagement and consumer brand experience.

He has wide experience in the services sector including telecom, travel and tourism, financial services and real estate. He possesses a deep understanding of the e-commerce business.

His forte has been in areas of strategic brand planning and brand architecture mapping, consumer segmentation, relationship marketing, and consumer brand experience. Prior to joining Yatra, Mazumder has been associated with prominent brands such as Bharti Airtel and OgilvyOne Worldwide.

For Mazumder, the task ahead at Yatra is to create a distinct identity for the brand keeping in mind its ideology of happy travelers.

Here are excerpts from Dipali Banka’s conversation with him:

Q. What are the challenges you are trying to address with your recent campaign with Salman Khan?

The fact we are trying to establish is that right now, with broadband penetration crossing a hundred million, there are early adopters of the online travel category. We are trying to get a larger mindshare and want to become a dominant online travel agency (OTA) brand in the consumer space. We have used this campaign to try increase top of mind recall and saliency for the brand.

This is a highly fragmented market in which the top four to five brands in the holiday section of the business control less than 10 per cent marketshare. So, it is primarily an unorganised retail trade. We want to become the number one brand that customers think of when booking a domestic or an international flight ticket. We signed on Salman Khan because he is the only celebrity who cuts across both masses and the classes, in metros as well as in tier I and tier II towns.



Q. Are you saying that because Salman Khan has bought a stake in Yatra?

The relationship with Salman Khan is multilevel. There are three dimensions to it. One dimension is that he has come on board as a shareholder of Yatra. The second is that he is going to be the brand ambassador, spokesperson and the face of Yatra. In a sense, he epitomises ‘Mr. Yatra’. He is the guy who goes out getting the best deals and will do anything for his customers. Thirdly, we’ve associated with his charitable trust, ‘Being Human Foundation’. For every ticket or holiday that we sell, we will make a contribution to his foundation. That is going to be the cornerstone of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.



Q. What is the total spend of the campaign? What kind of growth are you expecting?

We are undertaking a 360-degree marketing campaign. The campaign spend is around Rs 30 crore, a large share of which will be spent on television. Other than television, our media mix includes outdoor, print, radio and digital.

We are looking at doubling our business in the next two years.



Q. The campaign talks about meeting the commitment of one particular deal of providing 50 per cent off on an airline ticket. From a consumer’s point of view, it is a bit unrealistic. Through this campaign, are you trying to say that you are going to offer unrealistic deals at Yatra?

That is a creative exaggeration. That is like saying that someone picks up a cola and jumps off a mountain.



Q. Yes, but that creative exaggeration does not include numbers. Over here, people will come expecting 50 per cent off on every deal; and if they do not get it, they might be put off.

By the way, there are 50 per cent off on a few products on our website depending on sales, destinations, products and the inventory that we may have pre-bought. But if the residual message to the consumer is that Yatra provides the best deals, at least the consumer will check our deals before making a travel decision. And if that happens, the campaign would have done justice.



Q. McCann Erickson, Delhi is the creative agency for this campaign. But in 2010 your agency was TBWA, in 2009 it was Rediffusion DY&R, in 2007 it was Leo Burnett and in 2006 it was Everest Brand Solutions. There have been five different creative agencies in the last six years. What led to so many agency changes?

I cannot comment about what happened before late 2009 as I came in around that time. Back then, we had Rediffusion on board. We moved to TBWA through a competitive pitch. But I think it would have been more to do with the lack of meeting of minds and the juncture at which the brand was. About 2006-07…we had just started and had decided to trust a particular agency. As it didn’t deliver, we had to take steps. When you have business requirements to grow exponentially and if there isn’t meeting of minds, then it is better to part ways. In 2008-09, there was huge recession and the travel industry went through a bad time. So it would have been the financials that didn’t work out.

Right now, TBWA has been brought on to help us plan the creative strategy, the brand positioning and growth for the next few years.

There are agencies that have nurtured brands and helped them grow over a period of 10-15 years. This is an ideal situation but sometimes agency relations are all people-dependent and if there isn’t a meeting of minds, then it is better to part ways.



Q. On the media side too, you had Motivator some time back. And now it is ZenithOptimedia. Please comment.

Yes, Motivator was the agency for three odd years. The reasons for this change would also be similar. We are growing exponentially and over the last few years, our media investments have quadrupled. Motivator was a very small agency. When we did the pitch process, we did look at Maxus, another GroupM agency, Madison and Lodestar. We found that Zenith’s understanding and its completely RoI-driven model was suitable.


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<b>Pravin Kulkarni</b>, General Manager, Parle Products

“The positioning for a product is decided keeping in mind a number of factors, including strength of the brand, USP, target group, market scenario, and what is competition doing…we don’t want to repeat something that is already done. We always base positioning on findings from our surveys on consumer insights, behaviour, attitude, reaction to the brand and category.”

exchange4media Staff 02-May-2012

<b>Pravin Kulkarni</b>, General Manager, Parle Products
“The positioning for a product is decided keeping in mind a number of factors, including strength of the brand, USP, target group, market scenario, and what is competition doing…we don’t want to repeat something that is already done. We always base positioning on findings from our surveys on consumer insights, behaviour, attitude, reaction to the brand and category.”

Pravin Kulkarni has more than 15 years of experience in the domain of sales and marketing management across various leading companies such as Blow Plast, Pidilite and Parle. He joined Parle Products in 1994 and is currently GM, Marketing.

He is based out of Mumbai and is responsible for corporate strategy, business profitability, product portfolio management, strategic brand management, advertising and promotion for all Parle brands in the country.

Kulkarni is a graduate in Engineering from VJTI, Mumbai and a postgraduate in Management from the University of Pune.

The difference between rural youth and urban youth is getting very narrow, observes Pravin Kulkarni, General Manager, Parle Products while speaking to Priyanka Mehra. He urges marketers to interact with consumers and understand the role that a product plays in their lives. Excerpts:

Q. What is the market share of Parle G in each category? What kind of growth has each category witnessed? Parle G’s marketshare by volume in each category is Biscuits – 50 per cent; Confectionery – 20 per cent and Snacks – 7-8 per cent. Biscuits and confectionery, both have seen a growth of more than 20 per cent. The snack category has just started.

Q. What is the current positioning of the brand, given its diverse sub categories? Parle G’s core brand position stands for great value to consumers and providing them fun and health by way of food products.

Q. How are each of your brands positioned? What is the rationale behind their positioning? Parle G was initially positioned as a source of health and nutrition. As the market scenario changed, we also changed the positioning to an energiser. We did the ‘G for Genius’ campaign to appeal to kids segment on the basis of consumer insights and emerging trends. Parents were worried that their children have to fight out in a competitive environment and need strong mental health. So we changed our positioning from nutrition to an energiser for mental health.

The positioning for ‘Hide and Seek’ is that it is a facilitator for romance. The positioning for a product is decided keeping in mind a number of factors, including strength of the brand, USP, target group, market scenario, and what is competition doing…we don’t want to repeat something that is already done. We always base positioning on findings from our surveys on consumer insights, behaviour, attitude, reaction to the brand and category. Once we understand the entire landscape of category versus the brand and understand the consumers’ needs, we base our positioning on it. Gathering consumer insights is our preliminary homework.

Q. You have a varying range of products, including high-end premium products such as Hide-and-Seek and Milano for which you have celebrity-led campaigns. How do these campaigns differ from mass products such as Parle G and Monaco? The campaign starts from the proposition itself that has to appeal to the target group. Media selection changes depending on the product, so does the tone of the TVC. Each brand has its own market. The Milano market is niche as it is a premium brand. Marketshare of Parle G versus Milano is very different as Parle G is a mass brand and it is available even in villages with a population of 500 people. We cannot compare the two as the category sizes are completely different. Parle G contributes to nearly 60 per cent of sales in terms of volume. The comparison of a 75 year old brand versus a recent brand is not fair.

Q. How are you using digital media to build your brand and connect with the youth? To begin with, we have completely revamped our website from being a corporate website to a consumer-friendly one. We have started showing a strong presence in social media and have pages for our brands. We are looking at the digital space very seriously and see huge potential in it. We have appointed Law and Kenneth as our digital agency for the past two years. We have taken up branding for Yahoo Multiplex, which has given us good response. We have even taken sponsorship on Indiatimes.com for IPL Season-5. We continue to invest in the digital space wherever we see a good opportunity.

Q. On hindsight, out of your previous marketing plans, what would you have done differently? I can think of the Melody campaign we did, which was targeting the kids segment. At that time, Melody was being consumed by all segments, even teenagers. When we showed kids in the campaign, teenagers thought it was only for kids. So they were alienated from the brand. We corrected this error immediately and included adults in our campaign as well. Fortunately, we got our consumers back.

The other example I can cite is Smart Chips, which we launched as a healthy snack three years back. It was a great concept; unfortunately we had to withdraw it, as we were not getting repeat consumers because of the taste of the product. I wish we had worked on the taste at an earlier stage. It was a great concept and could have become a much bigger brand. The only consumers who were very, very serious about their health liked the product.

Q. What challenges do you face in order to consistently evolve and keep this heritage brand relevant to current consumers? The main challenge is that consumers are used to the older brands looking a certain way, especially in case of Parle G. Consumers have an emotional attachment to it, like the baby on the Parle G pack. We cannot remove the baby from the pack because almost 90 per cent of consumers will move away from the brand if we do. The challenge is to modernise the brand and get new consumers as well as retain the old consumers.

A delicate balance needs to be achieved with no drastic changes. We changed the Parle G pack by making subtle changes gradually, keeping the core property the same. For Hide-and-Seek we did not face the same challenge. We changed the identity overnight with a changed logo and it got easy acceptance from consumers.

Q. How is the brand faring with new products such as FullToss? How do you plan to compete with other aggressive brands such as Lay’s, Hippo, etc.? The task is difficult as we have very strong competition in the form of Lay’s and Kurkure that have built up strong brand equity. Additionally, there is a lot of regional competition from players such as Balaji, Haldiram’s and now Bingo from ITC. What we are doing is giving maximum value to the consumer by way more grams per pack and competitive weight at the same price. We don’t have a choice with the pricing, since there are established price slots. The only thing variable is weight per pack, which we have optimised.

Parle stands for quality. We give attractive packaging to appeal to both, youth and families along with doing interesting campaigns. In the snacks category, fortunately, there are a lot of innovations and formats that can be tried. There is a possibility of trying new flavours as well as the Indian palate is now accepting a whole new variety of flavours from continental, Indian and regional. We are looking at some new interesting snacks with new flavours. We also want to explore new price points. We have the added advantage of our core distribution strength and leveraged that to the maximum.
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<b>Manu Seth</b>, Country Manager – Marketing, HTC India

While we are present on all media vehicles, ad campaigns strongly depend on each product. For instance, Explorer was launched across all media platforms but when we launched HTC Sensation we used print, specific outdoor areas such as airport and live device experiences at retail outlets. So a lot of advertising depends on the product and its audience.

exchange4media Staff 26-April-2012

<b>Manu Seth</b>, Country Manager – Marketing, HTC India
While we are present on all media vehicles, ad campaigns strongly depend on each product. For instance, Explorer was launched across all media platforms but when we launched HTC Sensation we used print, specific outdoor areas such as airport and live device experiences at retail outlets. So a lot of advertising depends on the product and its audience.

Manu Seth has more than 15 years of experience working with leading telecom manufacturers such as BlackBerry-Research in Motion, Tata Indicom and Idea Cellular. He has also worked with Times of India and Tata Infomedia.

In his earlier assignments, he has worked with a focus on marketing, marketing communications, brand management, media planning and budgeting, strategic marketing alliances, and promotions.

Seth is a science graduate from Delhi University and has completed his masters in business management from Amity Business School, Noida. He also has a diploma in export management from Institute of Management Technology and diploma in sales and marketing from National Institute of Sales.

Here are excerpts from Rahul Dubey's conversation with him:

Q. Unlike smartphones such as BlackBerry and Apple, HTC India has a simple yet different brand positioning. What is the idea of ‘People’s Phone’? What is your USP? All our focus and orientation is towards the consumer. We believe that the devices can really work the way consumers want them to work. HTC is about the most personalised experiences.

The platform that we use is Google, which is an Android OS. We also have our own patent technology which acts as the operating system on some of our devices. These are the main features that differentiate our products from our competitors, who are also on the Android platform. We also do a lot of innovations in hardware. Offering the best touch screen experience is our priority. Innovations in hardware allow consumers to personalise devices.

Industry surveys reveal that the generation that is going to buy smartphones looks for a few key elements. E-mail has become the backbone of these elements. The next big thing is entertainment. To offer entertainment, we have come up with the ‘Beats’ technology that predominantly plays authentic sound.

We are also working on camera quality. The idea is to offer services that are best for personal consumption. Our philosophy has been to make ourselves the ‘People’s Phone’. All our innovations and R&D are based on this philosophy.

Q. Being a new entrant, 2011 was largely a year of brand-building for HTC. What is your marketing strategy in 2012? This year has already started on a very positive note. As per a Nielsen report, within a short span, we are among the top 20 brands on social media. We had a three-digit number of Facebook fans which increased to six-digit in a short span. We would like to take it ahead. There will be many announcements this year.

In terms of our marketing strategy, we want to offer consumers the most personalised experience. This year, we will specially focus on the stylish community within our TG. We are trying to identify and target them. There are devices in our portfolio that serve the needs of this specialised TG.

Q. What is your media mix? We have a balanced media mix for our products. We have close to 1000 promoters equipped with HTC devices to offer consumers a first-hand experience. Below-the-line activities are very crucial in our strategy and it is only going to grow.

In above-the-line activities, there is a mix of vehicles such as print, outdoor, television and digital media. We are also very focused on outdoor advertising. Through outdoor advertising, we first targeted the top ten cities of India last year and we will now target more cities this year. Print and television is essential to reach out to the masses as it offers brand awareness, brand recall and connectivity.

While we are present on all vehicles, ad campaigns strongly depend on each product. For instance, Explorer was launched across all media platforms but when we launched HTC Sensation we used print, specific outdoor areas such as airport and live device experiences at retail outlets. So a lot of advertising depends on the product and its audience.

Q. What is the current share of HTC in the smartphone market segment? How do you plan to increase this share? While we cannot reveal our market share, our aim is to acquire a good share in the smartphone market. When people think of buying smartphones, we would want them to consider HTC. To be in the consideration basket, we have to improve the brand’s ownership in the times to come.

Q. BlackBerry started as an enterprise phone whereas Apple’s iPhone had a cool quotient. Where do you see HTC’s position in the smartphone market? We do not position ourselves as an enterprise phone. We would like to be positioned as a smartphone that provides a personalised experience. We have a diverse product portfolio with devices in the price range of Rs 9,500 to Rs 40,000. This is oriented towards a very open-ended target audience, which can go from a 20 year-old to a 35 year-old. From the TG perspective, youth as well as the business class is important to us.
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<b>Saujanya Shrivastava</b>, Chief Marketing Officer, Bharti Axa Life Insurance

Our marketing strategy is based on ‘Strategy of Proof’, a global Axa framework. Proof is nothing but tangible evidence of answering customers’ queries about expectations in a manner that nobody else has.

exchange4media Staff 17-April-2012

<b>Saujanya Shrivastava</b>, Chief Marketing Officer, Bharti Axa Life Insurance
Our marketing strategy is based on ‘Strategy of Proof’, a global Axa framework. Proof is nothing but tangible evidence of answering customers’ queries about expectations in a manner that nobody else has.

Saujanya Shrivastava, Chief Marketing Officer, Bharti AXA Life Insurance has more than 14 years of experience in sales and marketing across sectors such as FMCG, Financial Services, e-commerce and retail.

Prior to joining Bharti AXA Life, he was with Future Group as Senior VP, Sales and Marketing for its e-commerce business. He led a young and vibrant team and played a pivotal role in developing the e-commerce business that included internet, telesales, catalogue sales, etc. Before joining Future Group, Shrivastava was the VP, Marketing at PepsiCo India.

Having just launched eProtect, Bharti Axa Life Insurance has joined the rank of insurance players who target young adults online. For Shrivastava, the challenge is differentiation in the market using the tried and tested global Axa framework, ‘Strategy of Proof ’.

Here are excerpts from Rahul Dubey’s conversation with him:



Q. How do you plan to communicate your brand statement of ‘proof’ across all media platforms? What is your media mix? Our TVC is for the ULIP part, not the online offering. We need to have a judicious mix of media platforms because it is a sharply targeted priority segment and we need to be where our customer is. Therefore, we had the ULIP TVCs.

We also appear on news tickers. Our target group is a segment that knows its financial needs and watches a lot of business news. E-protect is featured on all leading news channels. We have also targeted top print publications.

The digital platform is very crucial. We are working hard on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and high impact banner ads on the Internet. Additionally, we have e-mail campaigns for behavioural targeting. We target internet users who particularly use the medium for personal financial needs such as insurance. Contextual advertisements ensure that relevant messages appear on relevant websites when people search for such products.

Q. We have seen a number of outdoor advertisements for newly launched Bharti AXA products. How important is the outdoor medium for you? In the last six or seven months, we have seen a series of product launches. We looked at the outdoor media in a big way. We looked at Tier II and Tier III towns as well, to build awareness around each of these products. We always focus on judicious use of media for the brand.

Q. After fresh regulatory policies were issued for ULIP by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority last year, what kind of challenges did you face in marketing your products? It was a challenging phase for all insurance companies. The new regulations increased benefits for customers. All our efforts last year were directed at building customer awareness around market linked products. We used many ways of communicating to consumers. We did outdoor campaigns, as well as front-page ads in the Times of India and many leading regional dailies. There were radio campaigns as well as a host of media initiatives undertaken primarily to build awareness of the fact that post-regulation, it was even more beneficial from the customer’s standpoint to buy ULIP products.

Q. How is Bharti AXA Life Insurance’s marketing strategy different from that of other brands? Given that we are a third wave entrant, we naturally had to do a lot of catching up with companies such as ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, HDFC, etc., that were already present in the market. These are mostly entities that were banks first and later turned insurance companies. They draw their lineage and credibility from their banks. Our challenge was differentiation in the market. Our marketing strategy was based on the ‘Strategy of Proof’, a global Axa framework that is extremely compelling. Proof is nothing but tangible evidence of answering customers’ queries about expectations in a manner that nobody else has. You will find many advertisements, rosy retirement age plans and money-back guarantees, etc. But this is no longer a land of promises. It is a world of proofs.

Customers want evidence from a trustworthy company. Our latest ad on TV that depicts an old lady going to an insurance office to claim the insurance amount, contains an element of proof. That is the first ad we did for the ‘Strategy of Proof’ campaign.

Our family care benefit plan communication is that in case of the unfortunate death of the policy holder, we will release Rs 1 lakh within 48 hours of claim intimation. In that moment of extreme distress for a family, we don’t want people to run from pillar to post. We want to release the money, no questions asked. Just get us the death certificate and other documents, as part of normal procedure, and within 48 hours we give you Rs 1 lakh. The balance is given after necessary investigation. That is actually a solution…it clearly tackles customers’ expectations that when they need us the most, we are there for them. We provide the kind of support that no one in the current online market offers. Even in the offline space, fund release in 48 hours is not something that anyone has done.

Q. What are you immediate marketing plans? Is any change in media strategy on the cards? Our ‘Strategy of Proof’ approach will continue and so will ULIP. You will see some powerful proofs coming up, targeted at the young adult. You will see a national campaign of our products targeted at this TG. It is a segment that has a lot of potential and needs to get insured. As far as the brand positioning is concerned, a lot of research work goes on relentlessly so that we can start building a number of proof points focused towards redefining the category.

Q. What is your plan for the latest online insurance offering, eProtect? How is the TG of this plan different from that of the offline ULIP (Unit Linked Insurance Plan)? In five years, internet penetration has doubled in India. Currently it is at about seven to eight per cent. There are close to 100 million internet users and estimates from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and other agencies say that there will be close to 240 million internet users by 2014-15. We have recognised that our core target segment is the 25-40 year age group in the SEC A & B category. There are close to 25 million internet users in this TG.

When we studied the market, customer segments and behaviour, we realised it was an area where we had to be present. We started work about six months ago and launched our online term plan in February. Of the 20-25 players in the market, 10 to 11 are in the online space, and we are the latest entrant in the market. On the pricing front, we are among the top two competitive products in the market. We are trying to make it more relevant to consumers and live up to their expectations. We are the only company to offer an online term policy to any consumer living in any town in India. This is perhaps the best example of financial inclusion through this product. We have tie-ups at medical centres and doctors’ chambers in more than 950 towns.
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<b>Harneet Singh Rajpal</b>, VP – Marketing, Domino’s Pizza India

The Indian pizza market is worth approximately Rs 1,300-1,400 crore out of the Rs 8,000 crore organised food sector of India, as per Euromonitor data last year. Domino’s enjoys 54 per cent share of the pizza market, and 70 per cent share if you look at the organised home delivery space.

exchange4media Staff 09-April-2012

<b>Harneet Singh Rajpal</b>, VP – Marketing, Domino’s Pizza India
The Indian pizza market is worth approximately Rs 1,300-1,400 crore out of the Rs 8,000 crore organised food sector of India, as per Euromonitor data last year. Domino’s enjoys 54 per cent share of the pizza market, and 70 per cent share if you look at the organised home delivery space.

Harneet Singh Rajpal, VP – Marketing, Domino’s Pizza India, is responsible for the entire gamut of marketing activities for the brand. He has excelled in creating winning brands in each of his previous assignments in the automobiles and consumer durables segment, including TVS and the India operations of US-based Kohler Co. His key focus has always been on understanding the consumer and building profitable brands. At Domino’s Pizza, Singh has led many successful product launches and moved the brand to a new positioning of ‘Khushiyon ki Home Delivery’, striking an emotional chord with consumers. He is a mechanical engineer and MBA in Marketing from Sydenham Institute of Management.

Here are excerpts from Shree Lahiri’s conversation with him:

Q. What are the marketing spends for Domino’s? Around four to five per cent of our revenue goes into our marketing spends. We are not averse to looking at a higher percentage.

Q. Are you moving into the beverages category? No. Coke is our international beverage partner.

Q. With high competition from other players, how do you ensure customer loyalty? People find our delivery standards much better. With presence in 100 countries, we have the widest footprint. At least, 70 per cent of our customers are repeat purchasers every month. This loyalty makes us market leaders.

Q. What is the size of the Indian pizza market? What is the market-share that Domino’s enjoys? The Indian pizza market is worth approximately Rs 1,300-1,400 crore out of the Rs 8,000 crore organised food sector of India, as per Euromonitor data last year. Domino’s enjoys 54 per cent share of the pizza market, and 70 per cent share if you look at the organised home delivery space.

Q. Pizzas changed the eating habits of the common Indian, and we’ve witnessed a ‘pizza revolution’ in India, so to say. Where does Domino’s fare in this scenario? In 1996, we launched our first store in New Delhi, and became the first QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) chain to enter India. There was no concept of pizzas in India and we were nowhere near to delivering made-to-order fresh pizzas. We brought in pizzas exactly in the form that the world ate it. Our task was to educate consumers, build awareness and induce trial. What helped immensely was that the pizza has ingredients that exist in the Indian diet, but it was in a different format, shape and presentation. We managed to establish a connect.

Q. The brand positioning moved from a ‘Hungry kya’ positioning to ’30 mins or Free’. How did the transition to ‘Khushiyon ki Home Delivery’ happen? Initially our positioning was ‘Hungry kya’. By 2003-2004, we were established in 22 cities. At this point, we decided to highlight the ‘home delivery’ factor. We championed the culture of home delivery and our campaign was ’30 mins or Free’ to show that pizzas were delivered in less than 30 minutes. This changed the pizza scenario from a ‘freshness’ tag to a time-bound one too. It was not a marketing gimmick, but a scientifically designed process.

Our ad campaign evolved after we systematically and scientifically mapped the whole process. We found that it took around 15-17 minutes to make and pack a pizza order for delivery. Then it took 7-8 minutes of drive time to deliver them. We still kept around 7-8 minutes as a buffer time, keeping in mind traffic problems. People thought it was just a publicity stunt. In fact, delivery orders per day touched a new high after this. Also, putting a 30-minute time span actually ensured an unwritten commitment that our pizzas would be delivered hot and fresh.

In 2008, we realised it was time to connect with people on an emotional level. So, we went to the consumer and found out that the ‘delivery’ factor helps to lighten the mood, bring joy and happiness. In ‘30 minutes or Free’, Domino’s pizza not only brought joy, but also a lot of sharing and bonding while eating it. Hence, the new positioning was brought in. When the consumer evolves, the brand also evolves.

Q. Who are your target consumers? Out target consumer base is broad. It could be a kid to or a 40-year old. But we focus on the 15-35 years age group, living in urban, semi-urban areas who connect on a psychological level. Because 54 per cent of Indian population is under 25 years, it keeps the brand very young. We connect equally well with those who are married, to those who are in college or have entered working life. Domino’s is a natural fit here.

Q. How active is Domino’s in the digital media space? We launched our online ordering system in April 2011, and it is a huge success. On Facebook, we have almost one million fans. We try to understand and shape the personality of Facebook fans, whom we usually refer to as the ‘Dominicons’. We have a thriving social media presence and a high degree of engagement with consumers. We are investing in digital marketing to get people to try this platform and enjoy its convenience.

Q. What are your plans to expand to new areas? We opened our first store in Sri Lanka in May 2011 and are exploring the market in Bangladesh. As far as Tier II and Tier III towns go, we are now present in 100 cities (10 metros and mini metros and 90 from Tier II and Tier III) across the country. We believe there are many more cities that we can move into.

Q. Is Domino’s pricing policy affordable for the target segment? Our pricing today is most value-for-money for the brand (Brandtrack data shows this). The price for pizzas starts at Rs 39, and it is a whole meal. Pizza Mania range, which is higher priced, is shared by people. So, if you divide the cost per head, you can see that the pizza is value-for-money.
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<b>Sajid Shamim</b>, Brand Director, Reebok, Adidas Group

“A statement made by a consumer – ‘A treadmill is a dreadmill’ – has always stayed with me. This line sparked off the entire thought process for the CrossFit campaign. We don’t have any treadmills in Reebok CrossFit gyms.”

exchange4media Staff 03-April-2012

<b>Sajid Shamim</b>, Brand Director, Reebok, Adidas Group
“A statement made by a consumer – ‘A treadmill is a dreadmill’ – has always stayed with me. This line sparked off the entire thought process for the CrossFit campaign. We don’t have any treadmills in Reebok CrossFit gyms.”

Sajid Shamim, Brand Director, Reebok from the Adidas Group, has been with the company for 10 years. He believes Reebok needs to take the initiative and go that extra mile to delight consumers with what is contemporary and unique. Under his direction, Reebok has been credited with many firsts and has successfully maintained the brand leadership in an increasingly competitive market space.

As a believer in an autonomous corporate set-up and empowerment of his team, Shamim provides direction to his juniors while at the same time leaves ample scope for creativity, innovation and experimentation. He constantly motivates his team to see the bigger picture and the resulting vision has helped Reebok stay ahead of competition even in tough times.

He has always been determined to associate with the sportsman and not just the sports star. He has also led Reebok in associating with three IPL teams. He built preference and excitement for Reebok through tie-ups with Walt Disney and its in-house franchise, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.

Shamim aims to cash in on a health awareness wave in the country with products and marketing initiatives designed to change the concept of fitness from a boring treadmill to a fun sport.

Here are excerpts from Priyanka Mehra’s conversations with him:

Q. What is the targeted takeaway for consumers from CrossFit? We are making the person fit for life, and inculcating the attitude that fitness is not a chore, but a sport that is fun.

Q. Let’s talk about your latest launch, Reebok CrossFit. How does it take your brand forward? Reebok CrossFit is a global tie-up between CrossFit and Reebok. Since both the brands stand for the same things, we have joined hands. It basically extends our earlier positioning of fitness, and also reinforces it. Now we are taking to it to the next level. If you see Reebok as a brand globally, the whole aerobics movement was started by us.

From 2005 to 2008, we had built a huge instructor alliance base - individual instructors were being certified by Reebok who in turn were opening gyms and aerobic centres. It’s a movement we have been nurturing for a long time. We are not saying that we changed the game, but we impacted the fitness industry in a big way. Today, the picture of fitness is a person on a treadmill running in one corner of the gym; we are saying we will change it into a sport. When people see it as a sport with fans cheering, the whole camaraderie and the fun element is infused into the brand.

Q. What is your media mix for this initiative? We are using typical ATL mediums, 60 to 70 per cent of the mix would be television, and the rest would be print and outdoor. Social media is being used at two levels; the first level is the social community, banners, advertisements, games, and engagement modules. At the second level, every CrossFit gym we open will have a community of gym members. This will culminate into the Reebok National Games which we are planning to have in the later part of the year. It is our vision to take the games to the scale of Asian and Olympic Games.

Q. What is the marketing mix used for brand Reebok? In terms of intensity, digital has come up in a big way, but in terms of value spend, television would be the easiest way to reach out. The marketing mix is television with 50-60 per cent, OOH with 10-20 per cent, print with 10-20 per cent and digital with 10-20 per cent.

Q. Has there been significant growth in the fitness products segment in India? How does Reebok spread awareness within this segment? There has been a major upsurge in awareness of fitness in India. Because of societal changes and health awareness, fitness is becoming more and more mainstream. Earlier, the guy who was into fitness was called a fitness freak. Today, the scene has changed and gyms are mushrooming. What we have to do as a brand is to keep the freshness, we cannot let this momentum die. We cannot let fitness become another boring activity.

At the moment, the trend is extremely positive. One indication is rise in apparel and footwear sales. Also, sales of gym balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc. have seen a significant impact. The fitness quotient of India is definitely going up and we are aiding it. I would peg it at approximately 20- 25 per cent year-on-year growth. To spread awareness, we talk about fitness through our campaigns. We are going to build this up through CrossFit, CrossFit Games, and through events such as a launch which involves showing people the sports side of fitness. We will also be doing mall activations on these lines.

Q. What is your biggest challenge today? Our biggest challenge is ensuring people experience CrossFit at least once. If we can get people to experience it, our job is done. It is something that we believe will catch on fast. I have a feeling that the six-seven celebrities who tried CrossFit at our launch will come back and ask where they can enroll for classes. Our only challenge is to reach out.

Q. How successful was your campaign, ‘Butt Revolution’? I still remember a member of my team coming up to me and saying that we will ask people to make a video of their butt movements and put it on Facebook. I thought he was out of his mind to suggest something like that in a country like India. I told him that he would not get more than 10 people putting up a video. It was amazing to see 5,000 people uploading videos.

Basically, we gave them a dance step of what you call the ‘Butt Dance’, and how you do it; it was amazing how many people actually did it. That for me is an index of the success of the campaign, and this was entirely in the digital space. We followed it up with ‘tone your avatar’, where we combined the real world with the virtual space. In it we asked people to come to their particular Facebook page and do a series of exercises. As they exercised, their avatar also became more fit and if they shirked exercise their avatar put on weight. So this was again a great form of consumer engagement.

Q. What was the thought process that resulted in this campaign? CrossFit communicates what our brand is and what it is doing. It is our brand speak. It’s not that by selling 10 CrossFit boxes we are going to make X amount of money. Our first CrossFit gym is already open at Megamall, Gurgaon. Going forward, we plan to open 10 more CrossFit boxes across the metros. This is our core strategy and the rest is being built around this in the second half of the year. We are coming up with a CrossFit line of apparel and hi-tech footwear.

We have done numerous surveys globally through the years, but one statement made by a consumer has always stayed with me – ‘A treadmill is a dreadmill’. This line sparked off the entire thought process. We don’t have any treadmills in Reebok CrossFit gyms.

Q. What is the market share of Reebok in this? That would be tough for me to peg. We are enablers of fitness. It is tough for me to gauge in terms of how many gyms we have in the country as it is pretty much an unorganised sector. There are a lot of key players such as Fitness First, Gold Gym, etc. but I wouldn’t have the data for that.

Q. IPL has been a huge part of your marketing mix and promotions, can you talk about the budget and plans for IPL this year? The CrossFit campaign is bigger for us than the IPL. We started off with a TVC on March 15 with Reebok CrossFit and now we will go on to Flex, which is a particular shoe that helps in CrossFit. This activity is much bigger and we have taken a conscious stand that we will do IPL, but it is not our core. This campaign is critical to us and we will spend money on it.
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Sandeep Kataria, Chief Marketing Officer, Yum! Restaurants India

“Introducing Fiery Grilled is another milestone on the journey to providing new flavours and formats to our consumers. Taking inspiration from the Indian consumers’ love for spicy and flavourful food, this product is spicy, juicy and truly irresistible.”

exchange4media Staff 26-March-2012

Sandeep Kataria, Chief Marketing Officer, Yum! Restaurants India
“Introducing Fiery Grilled is another milestone on the journey to providing new flavours and formats to our consumers. Taking inspiration from the Indian consumers’ love for spicy and flavourful food, this product is spicy, juicy and truly irresistible.”

Sandeep Kataria works as the Chief Marketing Officer, Yum! Restaurants India. He is responsible for all marketing, branding and brand public relations activities for Yum! in the Indian subcontinent. He joined Yum! in April 2010. Prior to that, he had over sixteen years of experience in Unilever in India and abroad, moving across various leadership roles in general management, global brand management and strategy. He is a Chemical Engineer from IIT Delhi. After completing his MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur, he joined Unilever in 1993.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Rahul Dubey, Kataria shares KFC’s 360-degree marketing campaign for its latest product on the menu, Fiery Grilled Chicken along with the brand’s focus on vegetarian preparations.

Q. What is the reason for KFC’s entry into the grilled product category in India? What opportunities do you foresee in this category of food business? Introducing Fiery Grilled is another milestone on the journey to providing new flavours and formats to our consumers. Taking inspiration from the Indian consumers’ love for spicy and flavourful food, this product is spicy, juicy and truly irresistible. With Fiery Grilled, we look to offer our existing consumers another reason to come to KFC, as well as to build relationships with new customers by offering a new flavour profile. Fiery Grilled was developed over a two year period, including a six month market test. Consumers loved the flavour and appearance, with over 90 per cent of the consumers stating they would love to eat it again. Within a month of its launch, Fiery Grilled Chicken has already created a strong fan base amongst KFC lovers and is also attracting new consumers to the store, reiterating our confidence in the product. This is just a beginning as we look to launch more offerings in the grilled space.

Q. How important are smaller Indian towns to your business in short and long run? One of our key ambitions is to be accessible to our consumers by opening new stores in existing markets, as well as entering new markets. We entered ten cities in 2011 including tier II cities like Raipur, Ranchi, Indore etc. The warm welcome that we have received across such cities has encouraged us to continue this expansion in 2012 and beyond.

Q. How has the company’s Indian experience differed from its international operations? KFC is amongst the world’s most popular quick service restaurant brands with more than 15,000 outlets in 109 countries and territories around the world, serving some 12 million customers each day. In India, KFC offers this international experience in over 150 restaurants across 35 cities. While our international favourites like the Original Recipe, Hot & Crispy Chicken and Zinger Burger are immensely popular in the country; we have introduced a host of India specific innovations such as the Veg Zinger, Krushers Kafeccino, Fiery Grilled, amongst others. We also introduced innovative snacks like Chicken Popcorn. India is a youth driven market for which we have created offerings like the Streetwise menu for college goers, with prices starting at Rs 25.

Q. What is the biggest challenge today in your stated objective of increasing number of outlets to expand customer base? As we progress on our expansion path, it is critical for us to manage and grow our logistics and supply networks to support the pace of growth. We have continuously worked with all our partners and vendors to ensure consistent, high quality products and experiences to our customers, as we rapidly scale up the presence of the brand.

Q. How important are innovations in your food segment? Innovation is at the very core of our brand, and we have got a lot of positive recognition from customers over the last couple years on our new product launches. Our key goal is to translate consumer needs into product offerings, with a unique, inimitable KFC taste.

Q. What is the growth rate you are expecting in 2012? KFC has been growing at a 75 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the last 5 years, and expect this trend to continue into 2012.

Q. Where do you see the competition in quick-service restaurant (QSR) segment going? The organized eating out category is small, only about 2 per cent of the total eating out market, and growing at 30 per cent annually. Hence, there is immense scope for growth, especially in the QSR space.

Q. What marketing campaigns have you initiated to support the launch of Fiery Grilled? What is your media mix? The launch of Fiery Grilled is supported by a robust 360-degree marketing campaign. It has a thematic TVC launch, radio promotions, innovative digital activations, outdoor and in-store promotions. The TVC with the theme, ‘Sets You on Fire’ is youthful and highlights the product’s key attributes – fiery grilled and fiery to taste. The plot revolves around a youngster who dents his elder brother’s car but escapes his brother’s wrath, when he quickens his wit after taking a bite of Fiery Grilled chicken. An extensive digital campaign has also been devised to support the launch. It has Facebook applications, a blogger contest and a sampling exercise in partnership with Indiblogger. KFC fans on Facebook can “set themselves on fire” via a motion sensing application that lights up their every move on the digital platform. They can also tag and share their “fiery” video with friends to win exciting prizes. The campaign has been a success, with over 1500 videos recorded, and 70,000 new users joining the growing ranks of KFC Facebook fans. Bloggers on Indiblogger can enter a contest by describing a series of events, where their sharp minds and fiery tongues have got them out of sticky situations. KFC has also launched an exciting radio promotion, Fiery Brigade in partnership with leading radio stations across the country. It highlights quirky moments where people get out of sticky situations by calling in the KFC Fiery Brigade that brings out their inner fire. The promotion includes RJ mentions, live telecast interventions, etc.

Q. Where is KFC’s business plan going forward and what are the expansion plans in 2012? We are expanding aggressively and plan to increase our store count to over 500 stores by 2015.
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<b>Ahmed Rahimtoola</b>, Vice President - Marketing, Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt Ltd

‘Differentiate or Die’ is the mantra that drives the marketing team at ABD. All our brands have their foundation on a very strong consumer insight… Every category within IMFL has pre-defined codes in the consumer’s mind. For example, whisky as a category stands for success, achievement, status, masculinity and bonding, Vodka, on the other hand, is all about liberation, youth, fun, partying and socialising. The challenge (since you can’t show the product from an ATL point of view) for a new brand is to operate within these codes and still be different.

exchange4media Staff 09-March-2012

<b>Ahmed Rahimtoola</b>, Vice President - Marketing, Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt Ltd
‘Differentiate or Die’ is the mantra that drives the marketing team at ABD. All our brands have their foundation on a very strong consumer insight… Every category within IMFL has pre-defined codes in the consumer’s mind. For example, whisky as a category stands for success, achievement, status, masculinity and bonding, Vodka, on the other hand, is all about liberation, youth, fun, partying and socialising. The challenge (since you can’t show the product from an ATL point of view) for a new brand is to operate within these codes and still be different.

Ahmed Rahimtoola is the Vice President, Marketing of India’s third largest spirits company, Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt Ltd. He has played a vital role in the marketing success of the various brands under the company’s banner.

Having an extensive career spawning over 13 years in the field of advertising has helped Rahimtoola become a key player in the Alcobev (alcohol beverage) industry. His understanding and thorough knowledge of the industry have also been fueled by his seven-year stint with the UB Group. Prior to joining the UB Group, he had worked in the field of advertising, which has now given him the insight to spot an opportunity when he sees it.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Nitin Pandey, Rahimtoola shares the growth strategy of Allied Blenders and Distillers, the performance of the different brands in the company’s portfolio, creating brand differentiation and more...

Q. What is the current share of ABD in the liquor industry pie in India? The Indian liquor industry is approx 262 million cases and is growing with 12 per cent. Last year, ABD had sold 16.5 million cases, thereby giving it a national market share of 6.3 per cent. And today, it is the third largest spirit company (it was at No. 6 just four years ago).

Q. It’s been almost two decades now since ABD has been operating in the Indian market. The Group revamped its brand identity some time back, how has the market response been to this branding? The new identity for ABD was created in the year 2008-09. At that time, we as an organisation were going through a complete transformation phase under the leadership of Deepak Roy, an industry veteran. There was a new management team in place, new brands were being launched and a new vision was set to drive the company to the next level of growth. The new identity created is a reflection of a company that is on a high growth trajectory, a company that is breaking all boundaries and a company that is strong, powerful and fearless.

Since the inception of the new identity, ABD as an organisation has grown from strength to strength. From being the sixth largest player in the spirits industry, we are now the third largest player. ABD has also been the fastest growing spirits company over the last three years and has an array of powerful brands addressing different consumer segments. The industry today sees ABD as a formidable player, which is aggressive and fearless in the market place.

Q. According to you, what are some of the factors that are driving the growth of the liquor industry in India? Growth in the liquor industry is coming from the growing GDP, rising disposable income, increase in the number of middle income households, declining poverty levels, increase in the acceptance of alcohol and increase in the number of women drinking.

Q. If you had to take out a few key trends of this emerging industry in India, what would they be? The IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) industry in India stands at 262 million cases, growing at 12 per cent. India is predominantly a whisky market, with whisky contributing to 56 per cent of the entire spirits market. Brandy, which sells predominantly in the South, contributes to 22 per cent and is the fastest growing category. This is followed by rum with 17 per cent salience, vodka with 3 per cent and gin with 1 per cent.

Q. Where do your brands stand vis-à-vis the competition? Officers Choice is the second largest selling whisky brand in India and the fastest growing whisky brand in the country, growing at a CAGR of 33 per cent over the last four years.

Wodka Gorbatschow is the second largest selling vodka brand in the segment it operates. Class 21 is the fastest growing regular vodka brand and is the third largest selling vodka in the segment it operates.

Q. What are some of your plans to expand the reach of the company in India? Going forward, the thrust this year is going to be the brandy category. Brandy as a category contributes to 22 per cent of the total IMFL sales and is growing at 25 per cent. We plan to launch two brandies – one in the semi-premium segment and the other in the premium segment.

We are also in the midst of launching our premium rum brand, Jolly Roger, nationally this year.

Q. You have recently launched a premium variant of Officer’s Choice – Officer’s Choice Blue. How has the market response been? Officer’s Choice Blue is the latest entrant in our portfolio. It is a premium extension of our flagship brand Officer’s Choice. It is an intricate blend of pure grain whisky, blended with Scottish vatted malt, which has been sourced from the Highland and Isle.

We have launched the brand in two states – Assam and Maharashtra. The response from the two markets – from both the trade and consumers – has been very encouraging and hence, we plan to take the brand national early this year.

Q. Why have you relaunched Class as Class 21? The suffix 21 gives the brand a lot more emotional connect with the TG. 21 is that magical age in one’s life that we have the best memories off. Also, 21 represents the 21st century. The new identity we have created was inspired by the choice of today’s generation – digital.

We backed the new identity with immaculate packaging and a very insightful campaign on the insight – ‘I won’t to be 21 forever’.

Q. What was the inspiration behind your TV commercial for Officer’s Choice? The idea behind our campaign was that ‘It is the choices and actions that we take that determine whether we are true officers or not in life’. The brand proposition is communicated through a series of three dramatic films based on real life situations. The films show common men, faced with ‘choices’ that they come across in their day to day lives and the show the true officer take the ‘right choice’ in life. These films celebrate everyday victories of common men and salute the officer in them while inspiring other viewers to follow suit and be righteous in their lives.

Q. How do you create differentiation for the brands in your portfolio? ‘Differentiate or Die’ is the mantra that drives the marketing team at ABD. All our brands have their foundation on a very strong consumer insight. Let me give you two examples:

Officer’s Choice:

A large part of Officer’s Choice consumers come from lower strata of the society. Research showed us that because of their humble beginnings and situation they are in, they have not had many opportunities in life to make it big, get respect and recognition. Due to their circumstances, they are pushed around, but they still want to live with pride, respect and dignity. To satiate this need, they try and do good deeds in their neighbourhood. This helps them get little recognition and respect amongst their peers and their clan. Doing good deeds also gives them immense sense of pride and purpose. This helped us hit upon their belief – ‘Every individual’s deeds, actions and choices make them stand apart from the crowd and stand above others’.

Officer’s Choice whisky identified this core need of the consumer segment and created a differentiated positioning for itself on the platform of ‘Righteousness’, while other brands were talking about success, achievement and style. So, from this was born the campaign ‘Jagaiye apne andar ka officer’.

Wodka Gorbatschow:

In case of Wodka Gorbatshchow, the brand had to use the international platform of ‘Purity’ and make it relevant for the Indian audience. Research showed us that individuals play multiple roles in their lives. Some roles they play are because of the situation that they are in or because of their beliefs in life, for example, a lot of people believe in separating professional from personal things and are thoroughly professional at their work place and different when not. Wodka Gorbatshchow used this insight to be relevant to the youth mindset, asking the youth to play as many roles as they could, but to play each role with complete purity, passion and integrity. Thus, was born the campaign ‘Whoever you are be Pure’.

Q. Since no direct advertising can be done for liquor brands, how have you been creating awareness about your brands? This is always a challenging task, especially when you are launching new brands. Every category within IMFL has pre-defined codes in the consumer’s mind. For example, whisky as a category stands for success, achievement, status, masculinity and bonding, Vodka, on the other hand, is all about liberation, youth, fun, partying and socialising.

The challenge (since you can’t show the product from an ATL point of view) for a new brand is to operate within these codes and still be different.

However, when it comes to BTL, restrictions are very few and hence, when a brand is using ATL media, it should be backed heavily by BTL initiatives (glow signs, display, POS, etc.) so as to have a better connect.
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<b>Dharini Mishra</b>, Global Head of Brand, Suzlon Group

Every brand must communicate what it stands for, its promise, its relevance in the audiences’ life and times, what it adds to the community, and most importantly, what it means to the individual consumer. This is the ‘mantra’ we have followed in creating P.A.L.S. and its success speaks for itself… We have seen very strong support and trends for social branding, participative advertising and digital innovations. We see the challenge – and opportunity – for 2012 in taking these learnings and aligning ever more closely with our business audiences.

exchange4media Staff 07-February-2012

<b>Dharini Mishra</b>, Global Head of Brand, Suzlon Group
Every brand must communicate what it stands for, its promise, its relevance in the audiences’ life and times, what it adds to the community, and most importantly, what it means to the individual consumer. This is the ‘mantra’ we have followed in creating P.A.L.S. and its success speaks for itself… We have seen very strong support and trends for social branding, participative advertising and digital innovations. We see the challenge – and opportunity – for 2012 in taking these learnings and aligning ever more closely with our business audiences.

With more than 16 years of experience, Dharini Mishra is a strong believer in creating the right balance of the science and art of brand management. She heads the Suzlon Group Brand for all its companies across the globe.

One of her biggest achievements is launching an Indian brand globally, building brand equity and sustaining it across the 32 countries with global strategies, customised to local execution. Developing award winning properties on leading international media like CNN and BBC, Mishra has successfully positioned Suzlon as a leading green brand championing the cause of sustainable development.

Managing brands in crisis and resurrecting them has been a core area of expertise. Having recently launched the hugely successful ‘Pure Air Lovers Society’ (P.A.L.S.) brand campaign for Suzlon in India, Mishra has keen insight and great expertise in building credible green brands.

One of the first propagators of digital reputation and brand management in India, Mishra is a frequent speaker at conferences and communications institutes on the subject.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Nair, Mishra traces the success path of P.A.L.S campaign and interesting insights into brand management in the digital space.

Q. What were the challenges that you faced while launching an Indian brand globally with global strategies, customised for local execution? The challenges that Suzlon faced were no different from what any brand faces when going global. To our advantage, we are in a young industry that is recognised for its positive impact on the future of the world. This has allowed us to use a healthy mix of global brand salience with high levels of local customisation to create a unique positioning that is right for us.

Q. How was the year 2011 for Brand Suzlon? The year 2011 has been a very good year for Brand Suzlon. Suzlon was voted the 6th most green brand in India by the global ‘Green Brands 2011’ survey by Landor, and named a ‘New Sustainability Champion’ in a World Economic Forum – Boston Consulting Group study of “fast-growing, high-performing companies” from emerging markets in terms of their environmental and social initiatives. One of the highlights of this year has been our highly successful ‘Pure Air Lovers’ Society’ (P.A.L.S.) campaign. With over a million members, this has become the largest social cause community in India in record time.

Q. The P.A.L.S campaign is one of the major clutter-breaking promotional campaigns seen on digital media. Could you throw some light on the core concept behind the campaign? With Pure Air Lovers’ Society, or P.A.L.S. as it is better known, we wanted to reach out to the youth of this country with an issue that not only concerned them, but also what an individual could do something about. We started P.A.L.S. with a focus on creating awareness about air quality and converted this awareness into action by empowering the audience with tools and means to be a part of the solution. The issue and the campaign have struck a chord nationally, particularly in the digital space.

Q. How are you planning to further take forward the P.A.L.S. campaign? We have achieved our first major milestone with a million-strong P.A.L.S. community. This is a great achievement and makes P.A.L.S. one of the fastest growing social cause campaigns in India. In the next phase, we will focus on leveraging digital media and giving this great community the platforms, tools and knowledge to take this movement to the next level.

Q. After the success of the P.A.L.S. campaign, what is the major marketing initiative planned for Brand Suzlon? P.A.L.S. is very much alive, and with the second phase of the campaign set to roll out in the coming weeks, it’s much too early to look at what our next effort might be.

Q. What according you are the five key messages that a brand must convey to its target audience? Every brand must communicate what it stands for, its promise, its relevance in the audiences’ life and times, what it adds to the community, and most importantly, what it means to the individual consumer. This is the ‘mantra’ we have followed in creating P.A.L.S. and its success speaks for itself.

Q. You are known to create the right balance of the science and art of brand management. How has this helped you take the brand to the next level? Let us take P.A.L.S. as an example, we used focused research with behavioural insights to identify an evocative issue and create a strategy that broke through the clutter with the application of creative communication and drove engagement to make it one of the fastest growing campaigns of its kind ever in India. This is a good example of the science of brands and the art of communication.

Q. Is there any particular pattern you will be focusing on in your communication in the next financial? If yes, please elaborate. We have seen very strong support and trends for social branding, participative advertising and digital innovations. We see the challenge – and opportunity – for 2012 in taking these learnings and aligning ever more closely with our business audiences.

Q. What are the various points that a brand needs to keep in mind before positioning itself in the digital space? The digital medium has immense power today, and I think there are four key elements to any great digital campaign:
Be unique: Copying the success of others seldom works, the strength of this medium works differently for different brands
Know your audience: Knowing your target audience is the first step. No campaign can be successful until you figure out what you need to invest and what you want from it
Be clear: Today’s audience is incredibly sophisticated. Gimmicks for the sake of creativity alone will not work. Focus on your message
Commit: Short term or fleeting engagements can do more harm than good. It is very important to plan and execute initiatives that can be sustained in the long term.
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